She applied the Page 69 Test to Flame of Sevenwaters and reported the following:
On page 69, seven-year-old Finbar, a budding seer, has just told his older sister Maeve about a terrible event that happened when he was a baby. Maeve has just returned to Sevenwaters after ten years away, and she’s finding this brother she has never met before both unusually gifted and strangely troubled. With them is Finbar’s druid tutor, Luachan.Learn more about the book and author at Juliet Marillier's website.
“Finbar,” said Luachan, “the other baby was not all burned up. Remember? It was not a human baby, and after it was scorched in the fire, your sister mended it and breathed life into it, and then gave it back to its mother. That part of the story had a good ending.” His tone was gentle. It sounded as if they had been through this explanation many times before.Page 69 is quite a representative sample of the earlier part of the book. The later Sevenwaters novels contain an epic over-arching story about a power struggle between Lord Sean (chieftain of Sevenwaters and father of Clodagh, Maeve and Finbar) and Mac Dara, a malevolent prince of the Otherworld. Each novel also has its own story, focusing on individuals within the family. In Flame, Maeve’s relationship with her little brother is critical to the unfolding of both the epic and the personal story – the two will later find themselves on a grand and terrifying quest. This excerpt shows Maeve’s concern for Finbar and the way his visions colour his thinking.
“So you know the whole story too,” I said.
Luachan gave me a crooked smile. “It was deemed appropriate in view of my current duties. Of course, the bare bones of it are common knowledge: the abduction of a chieftain’s son does not go unnoticed. The details I had from Ciarán, who heard Clodagh’s account after her return from the Otherworld.”
“That baby was hurt,” Finbar insisted. “He went all black and shrivelled, and one of his eyes fell out into the flames. Clodagh burned her hand picking it up. And when Cathal poured wine on him to put out the fire, smoke came out of the baby’s mouth.”
“Perhaps you did see it, Finbar,” I told him, and I put my arm around his shoulders. He did not shrink from my touch, but under it he was strung tight. “But you couldn’t remember it. People don’t remember what they saw as little babies.”
“I see it in the water. I see it in the smoke. I can’t help it. It’s there waiting for me.”
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The Page 69 Test: Seer of Sevenwaters.